Today we celebrate a significant milestone in pinball history: the first solid-state 1-million point shot.

That was Comet, released in 1985 by Williams.  This was the first of a set of three roller-coaster themed games: Comet, Cyclone, and Hurricane.  The latter two each featured easier-to-hit 1-million point shots, as well as some multi-million point ones.

According to IPDB, there were three older electro-mechanical tables with 1-million point shots:  Arrow Head (Williams, 1957), Royal Flush (Gottlieb, 1957), and Ferry-Boat (Billares Cordoba, late 50’s or early 60’s).

What’s significant about Comet is that it was the first widely-available machine to feature the 1-million point shot.  With over 8,000 units built, it was easy to find.

Score Inflation

While it’s not fair to blame Comet (or Williams) for the massive score inflation of the 80s-00s, the table was a big part of that trend.  Scores spiraled out of control, with replays set at over a billion points and even one machine which featured a 1 billion point shot (more on that in a later article).

It took a lot of years for the industry to figure out that big numbers didn’t really matter to pinball players.  They will measure success based on whatever scale a game provides; and with the advent of wizard modes and multi-layer scoring sequences, the numbers become less important than the accomplishments.  This was proven in recent years as scores were significantly de-valued as far as to award single points–even lower than the usual lowest value of 10 for EM tables.

So when you brag about your pinball prowess, it may be better to talk about what you’ve done than how many points you’ve scored.  Although in machines like Comet, lighting that big shot took a lot of steps so that makes it an accomplishment in itself.